Wood Flour Filled Polyvinyl Chloride Composites and Their Foams

 

Introduction

 

The Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) industry is moving towards using petroleum-free components for WPC blends, while attempting to retain or improve performance of their products. Wood plastic composite products have strength and stiffness properties that are somewhere between plastic and wood, and do not offer mechanical performance similar to that of solid wood. Improving the drawbacks of WPCs (e.g., lower flexural strength and modulus) could improve their acceptance in load bearing structural applications and open new applications for these composites.

 

Description of Technology

 

This invention employs natural polymers such as chitin and chitosan as compatibilizers for natural fibers (e.g., wood and agro-fibers) filled polyvinyl chloride (PVC) composites. Wood and plastic fibers are generally not compatible during blending processes. The invention increases the compatibility between the wood and plastic fibers, increases strength and stiffness, and improves the foamability of the composites. This invention is blended using a novel and improved process of another MSU invention; Hybrid PVC/Wood-Flour Nanocomposites and Method of Manufacture (07096F). The compatibilizers of this invention, Wood Flour Filled Polyvinyl Chloride Composites and Their Foams (05086), are used in conjunction with 07096F for achieving better dispersion of montmorillonite nanoclay into rigid PVC for WPC blending. The two inventions provide a nanoclay-reinforced rigid PVC that is used as a matrix for hybrid PVC/wood-flour composites (WPCs) with properties similar to or better than those of solid wood.

 

Key Benefits

  • Increased compatibility between fibers and plastic matrix.
  • Increased both the strength and stiffness of the composites. 
  • Enhanced foamability of the composites.
  • Enhanced Processing.

 

Applications

 

Composites made from these fibers can be used to manufacture a variety of building materials that are currently made from WPC. Examples include, but are not limited to furniture, window and door frames, decking, docks, railing, fencing, and cabinets. Additionally, these fibers lend themselves to blending into biodegradable end-products.

 

Patent Status

 

US 2006/0293418 A1 (filed Apr 21, 2006)

 

Inventors

 

Laurent Matuana, Patricia Heiden, Bhavesh Shah

 

Tech ID

 

TEC2005-0086

 

Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University
herlache@msu.edu